PREMA Racing claimed victory in the FIA Formula 3 Championship once again as Robert Shwartzman emerged victorious in the Sprint Race at Circuit Paul Ricard.
The Russian had a storming drive from seventh to claim his second win in four races.
Pedro Piquet broke up the PREMA dominance with second place as Feature Race winner Jehan Daruvala finished in third – meaning it was the same podium trio on Saturday and Sunday.
Alex Peroni started the race from reverse grid pole, with Yuki Tsunoda starting alongside him. The third PREMA of Marcus Armstrong had a difficult start stalling and plummeting down the grid.
Shwartzman’s route through the pack was helped on the third lap by the MP Motorsport of Liam Lawson running wide allowing the Russian through.
The PREMA-man was on a charge and soon had Bent Viscaal in his sights, but waited a lap to attempt the move as he looked for a cleaner chance which he pulled off that he followed up with a move on Piquet.
Out front, Peroni was not able to build a gap and Tsunoda swept past the Australian with the aid of DRS. This left Peroni vulnerable to the charging Shwartzman who found himself in third after just nine laps.
The leading trio entered into a three-man brawl down the straight, with Shwartzman pulling off an ambitious double overtake for the lead and swung to the right of the pair with a clear pace advantage.
Piquet, closed the gap on them passing Peroni and Tsunoda to run in second.
Behind the, Lawson and Armstrong were recovering from their difficult starts to fight through the pack and find themselves back in the points positions with fifth and sixth in their sights.
Just ahead, Daruvala made a move on the free-falling Tsunoda to bring himself into the podium placings.
Shwartzman in the lead was out of reach but Piquet found himself under pressure from Daruvala who took second off the Brazilian.
Another PREMA one-two looked set but Piquet had other ideas, with just one lap remaining he reclaimed second down the pit straight – closing the door before Daruvala could fight back.
In the distance, Shwartzman crossed the line for his second victory of the season and PREMA’s fourth overall.
Piquet was second with Daruvala completing the podium. Richard Verschoor was fourth.
Armstrong had been provisionally declared in fifth place following a penalty for Lawson which demoted him to sixth. However, following the race the penalty was reversed due to a revision of the incident.
Subsequently the two New Zealanders finished in the places they crossed the line with Lawson fifth and Armstrong in sixth.
Jake Hughes and Logan Sargeant completed the points finishers.
Unsurprisingly, the PREMA trio head the Drivers’ Championship standings with Daruvala sitting on top. They also head the Teams’ Championship 113 points ahead of ART Grand Prix in second.
The action resumes in just a week’s time for the first back-to-back race of the year at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.
2019 FIA Formula 3 Championship: Circuit Paul Ricard – Sprint Race
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